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Determining fault in personal injury cases

In New York, when a person files a personal injury lawsuit, pure comparative negligence comes into play. This means that whatever percentage the defendant is deemed to be responsible for the injury is the amount the defendant will be required to pay. For example, if a court finds that a plaintiff is 90 percent responsible for the injury, then the defendant is only liable for 10 percent of the damages.

A few states plus the District of Columbia have contributory negligence laws that bar plaintiffs from any recovery if they bore even the slightest responsibility for the accident. Most states, however, have modified comparative negligence statutes, which require the defendant to have at least 50 percent, or in some cases greater than 50 percent, of the responsibility for the injury in order for the plaintiff to be able to recover damages. In these states, the amount of the award will be reduced by the percentage that the plaintiff is found to have been at fault.

Another consideration in a personal injury case is how damages are awarded and collected when multiple parties are at fault. For example, both a store and a building owner might each have some degree of responsibility in a premises liability accident. However, a plaintiff might collect the entire award from only one party and let the defendants decide how they will work out reimbursements.

People who are injured in a slip and fall accident on another party's property may want to consider a lawsuit based on premises liability. They may want to have the assistance of an attorney in demonstrating that the accident was caused by a dangerous property condition that the defendant was or should have been aware of and failed to correct.

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Orin J. Cohen Law
1162 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10301-3623

Phone: 718-303-2995
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